Friday, August 31
Brockville's Grenville Christian College "has abruptly closed its doors amid allegations of sexual improprieties and cult practices." Former students of the residence school "paint a picture of a bizarre environment", including regular "breaking" sessions in which they were ordered from their beds in the middle of the night, and made to sit "in a dark room with a bright light shining on their face and accused repeatedly of being sinners by teachers and staff they couldn't see." ("I would feel physically ill and almost in a parallel existence, divorced from my body and mind, utterly frozen and in a state of shock.")
It sounds like the set-up to a joke, and it is: George Bush and Greg Palast visited the Gulf Coast two years after Katrina. Bush tells New Orleans, "We understand." Palast sees Blackwater "guys dressed like Ninjas" keep black residents from reentering their clean and dry public housing projects, and understands:
I wasn’t naïve. I had a good idea what this scam was all about: 89,000 poor and working class families stuck in Homeland Security’s trailer park gulag while their good homes were guarded against their return by mercenaries. Two decades ago, I worked for the Housing Authority of New Orleans. Even then, the plan was to evict poor folk out of this very valuable real estate. But it took the cover of a hurricane to do it.
Increasingly, there's analysis not too hard too find out there which demonstrates an appreciation that incompetence is the great, oversold attribute of the Cheney-Bush years. For instance, Rolling Stone's "Great Iraq Swindle":
It was an invasion of the federal budget, and no occupying force in history has ever been this efficient. George W. Bush's war in the Mesopotamian desert was an experiment of sorts, a crude first take at his vision of a fully privatized American government.... It's not so far-fetched to think that this is the way someone up there would like things run all over -- not just in Iraq but in Iowa, too....
What happened in Iraq went beyond inefficiency, beyond fraud even. This was about the business of government being corrupted by the profit motive to such an extraordinary degree that now we all have to wonder how we will ever be able to depend on the state to do its job in the future. If catastrophic failure is worth billions, where's the incentive to deliver success?
Add to this the tens of thousands of US weapons which have "disappeared" in Iraq (Robert Gates is "deeply troubled" by the reports), and Afghanistan's latest record opium harvest, and perhaps the pattern becomes too vivid to ignore without the most determined act of will. (The UNODC's Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa says "No other country in the world has ever had such a large amount of farmland used for illegal activity, beside China 100 years ago." It's not a very long stroke that connects the China Trade of one century with the Afghan Trade of another, but there's still considerable reluctance to draw the connection.)
I've been meaning to write about Ron Paul for a while, and still probably will, but if he's of interest or concern to you there's a good thread on the RI board you should read. And I think this comment by chlamor bears repeating:
It reminds me of that old game show, "Concentration". When only a few squares were revealed, it was hard to tell there even was a message there. As more became visible, it was possible to recognize a coded word here and there, but it was still difficult to tease out any meaning. It wasn't until most of the squares had been uncovered that the message was revealed.
By cleverly selecting which bits to reveal, Paul and his supporters presented snippets of code that seemed easy to interpret: anti-war (sane foreign policy), anti-neocon (anti-imperialism), etc. Then we turn over some more squares, "international banker" obsession, black=criminal, anti-public education, anti-separation of church and state, etc, that suggested a more sinister message. A detailed overview leaves no square unturned, revealing a hero of the Bircher/Patriot mold who consistently panders to his loyal base, including it's more racist fringes. Turns out this "straight talker" uses deliberately deceptive language to send one message to his base and another to the rest of us. This defender of the Constitution has some radical alterations in store for that "hallowed" document. This lover of liberty counts overt fascists among his most dedicated fans.
It's not that I wouldn't consider supporting a message candidate, I'm just not willing to provide even temporary, tactical support to one whose message makes me want to vomit.